Ascendancy of Blood, by Eugie Foster (Scrybe Press, 2004)

As a howling mob closes in upon a cursed castle, its vampiric queen unleashes an unholy power to protect her people and herself from utter destruction. In seconds, the castle is overtaken by living vines and giant black roses, as the queen herself sinks into an enchanted sleep, a spindle through her heart. There she will lay, until rescued from the consequences of her dark pact.

Hundreds of years later, a prince desperate to prove himself to his people journeys to Castle Thorn. There, he will conquer the enchanted keep, or die trying like those who have come before him. He will fight through the living vines and giant flowers, and partake of their essence, and he will find the sleeping beauty who once ruled long ago. He will undo her curse, and they’ll live happily ever after. Or will they? Or will the differences wrought over centuries stand in the way of their newfound love?

Combining elements of Sleeping Beauty and vampire tales, Ascendancy of Blood is a quick, sharply-told, gorgeously-described chapbook by up-and-coming author, Eugie Foster. Her strength here lies in the lush prose and seductive imagery that permeates the pages. It’s a very short story, too quickly over to really go into any real detail, though she does do a very nice job of twisting both vampire legends and the familiar fairy tale to create something new and different. I think, however, the time has come to see something much longer from Foster, so she can really put her skills to the test. She’s done nicely with the short stories I’ve seen to date in various publications, but I think she has it in her to turn out a full-length novel. She certainly shows plenty of promise. This chapbook might make a great stocking stuffer for literature-loving friends and family. You can reach the publishers here, and the author here.

Originally posted on SF Site, 2005

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